Macron calls for mil­i­tary ac­tion in Libya

Pledge to save en­slaved mi­grants comes as £39bn ‘Mar­shall Plan’ for Africa is launched to aid econ­omy

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Henry Sa­muel in Paris and Nick Squires in Rome

French pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron last night said that the EU and African Union will launch “con­crete mil­i­tary and polic­ing ac­tion” to rescue African mi­grants en­slaved in Libya. It came as the EU pledged a “Mar­shall Plan” for Africa of around £39bil­lion to help tackle mass mi­gra­tion.

FRENCH pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron last night an­nounced that the Euro­pean Union and African Union will launch “con­crete mil­i­tary and polic­ing ac­tion” to rescue African mi­grants en­slaved in Libya.

The an­nounce­ment came as the EU pledged a Mar­shall Plan for Africa of €44 bil­lion at a sum­mit dom­i­nated by out­rage over slave auc­tions in Libya of mi­grants sold “like goats”.

The furore over il­licit slave auc­tions, high­lighted in a re­cent CNN re­port, was thrust to the top of the agenda among the 83 heads of state from the EU and Africa gath­ered in Abid­jan, Ivory Coast, for a two-day sum­mit.

In an in­ter­view with France 24, Mr Macron said he was not sug­gest­ing send­ing for­eign troops to Libya, adding: “It’s not about declar­ing war, Libya is a state in po­lit­i­cal tran­si­tion ... but there’s re­in­forced po­lice ac­tion that needs to be done to dis­man­tle those net­works”.

He also called for “in­di­vid­ual, fi­nan­cial and phys­i­cal sanc­tions” against hu­man-traf­fick­ing net­works, which he said had close links to ter­ror groups in the area.

The plan could in­volve up to 15,000 peo­ple be­ing flown out of Libya. The Libyan gov­ern­ment last night agreed to al­low the mi­grants to be evac­u­ated, Mr Macron said.

Source coun­tries will have to come to a hold­ing cen­tre in Tripoli and take back their cit­i­zens. Mi­grants with­out doc­u­men­ta­tion would be held un­til their case is re­solved.

Th­ese “emer­gency evac­u­a­tion op­er­a­tions” will take place “in the com­ing days or weeks,” said Mr Macron.

In his open­ing re­marks, Jean-claude Juncker, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion pres­i­dent, said that the bloc had de­vel­oped “an ex­ter­nal in­vest­ment plan for Africa” that would stump up €44 bil­lion (£39bn) in pri­vate in­vest­ment by 2020, no­tably in growth sec­tors such as re­new­able en­ergy.

He said that the way to tackle mass mi­gra­tion was to stim­u­late mas­sive eco­nomic growth in Africa. The CNN footage showed youths from Niger and other sub-sa­ha­ran coun­tries be­ing sold to buy­ers for about $400 at undis­closed lo­ca­tions in Libya.

The UN, at France’s re­quest, will hold a spe­cial se­cu­rity coun­cil ses­sion on the stranded mi­grants in Libya this week. Libya has promised to in­ves­ti­gate the slav­ery claims, and to set up a “tran­sit and de­par­ture fa­cil­ity” in Tripoli for peo­ple in need of in­ter­na­tional pro­tec­tion and help in be­ing sent to third coun­tries. Muham­madu Buhari, Nige­ria’s pres­i­dent, said all Nige­ri­ans stranded in Libya and else­where will be brought home and “re­ha­bil­i­tated”, call­ing it ap­palling that “some Nige­ri­ans were be­ing sold like goats for few dol­lars”.

An­gela Merkel, the Ger­man chan­cel­lor, said: “It’s very im­por­tant that we sim­ply sup­port Africans to put a stop to il­le­gal mi­gra­tion, so peo­ple don’t have to ei­ther suf­fer in hor­ri­ble camps in Libya or are even be­ing traded.”

Yet some have point­edly ac­cused the EU of hypocrisy over the cri­sis, no­tably by help­ing re­turn Europe-bound mi­grants to an es­sen­tially law­less state.

Em­manuel Macron, the French pres­i­dent, speak­ing at an in­au­gu­ra­tion cer­e­mony of a so­lar en­ergy power plant in Zak­tubi, near Oua­gadougou, Burkino Faso, en route to the Eu-africa sum­mit in the Ivory Coast

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.